NEW DELHI: Moët Hennessy India, which accounts for 80% of the champagne market share in India, has big plans to expand in the country with its made-in-Nashik sparkling wine Chandon.
“The potential is not just what we have, we would like to go bigger because India is like an iceberg and Chandon has just tapped into the tip of it. There is massive potential with consumers; the cities we would like to be in execute and we hope to continuing exploring this potential,” Sophia Sinha, Moët Hennessy India’s head of marketing (Chandon & Still Wines) told TOI.
While India will continue to be a brown spirits market at least for the near future and whiskey will continue to grow, Sinha says “wines have done well during this pandemic.”
“While the volume may have dropped across categories (still, sparkling, champagne) we need to consider that wines are a small market, and so the drop expected was far higher. Thanks to a whole new at-home consumption premise, we saw that the easiest go-to option for people has been wines. This was a positive uptake during the lockdown,” she said.
Overall, the industry has seen a decline of about 30% in 2020 over 2019, essentially due to the lack of on premise consumption and alco-bev supplies being shut for around three months during the lockdown last year.
“Within the sparkling wines (market in India), if you remove champagne, and look at only the sparkling wines which could be Indian or imported, we are right up there next to Sula sparkling. We have done a pretty good job considering we have been in the market for only six full years. This would be our seventh year; 2015 was our first full year. (It is an) an achievement to do what we have done in seven years considering India is a whiskey market with a wine market of less than 1%,” Sinha said.
The pandemic has hit the hotel and restaurant sector badly due to constantly changing restrictions. Asked what has the company been witnessing during this period in India, she said: “ The new trend is the ‘home premise’. What people have realised is that the on premise (restaurants, hotels, bars) in India is probably going to take a little time to come back…. people are sitting at home a lot more. You watch movies at home, order food from outside and get that atmosphere of an on premise at your home by inviting maybe a few friends or doing it with your partner. The new concept of ‘home premise’ has evolved.”